My blog is weird

You guys see a very different side to me in comparison to what many people in my life see. My closest friends know that I am pretty…erm…odd, but my work colleagues and casual acquaintances see “professional Jane.”

Professional Jane likes pencil skirts and blazers. She eats rye crackers and discusses politics with men in suits. She analyses exam results and collates them in the form of pie charts. She attends meetings with colleagues and has an actual clipboard. Sometimes, she ties her hair up with a pencil. Yes, professional Jane is a straight-laced, no-nonsense nine to fiver.

Then there’s “crazy Jane”. Crazy Jane tries to teach her cat how to curtsy (she *almost* has it). She has an inexplicable fear of foam and waltzes with herself. She likes to not stalk her neighbours with binoculars and pretend she’s a French mime artist. She also loves wrestling and tequila (in that order). Sometimes, she likes to drive slowly beside random joggers she’s never met while playing Eye of the Tiger. She also likes to frequent karaoke bars where she can rap California Love in its entirety.

So yes, I’m weird. But I’m not always weird. I could come on here and be normal but then you guys wouldn’t be (hopefully) laughing at with me.

Design

In case you guys are wondering, crazy Jane mostly lives in a cage while professional Jane is at work. I let her out in the evening, where she likes to dance to Abba and blog. Crazy Jane sure loves to blog. She also loves talking to all her fellow weirdos and sending them virtual cake. She is uncomfortable with referring to herself in the third person so she’s going to stop now and knit some tea cosies even though she doesn’t have a tea pot. Sinister.

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I wish I were as Brave…

2016 was the year of celebrity deaths. 2017 seems to be the year where our formally favourite celebrities have become dead to us. Numerous allegations of sexual misconduct (to say the least) have dominated headlines over the past few weeks and I have found myself devastated, shocked and furious all at once. From discussing the allegations with several people and watching as it has all unfolded on social media, I have become aware of the various reactions people have had. Most people are obviously angry and disgusted. Many people have pointed out the danger and injustice of trial by media (fair enough). Many have condemned those who have admitted to prior awareness of the abuse and chose to stay silent.

There are some, however, that seem intent on defending the perpetrators, on blaming the victims and on undermining and delegitimizing the sexual abuse. I have heard people say ‘this is only coming out now because everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.’ I suppose there is a kernel of truth to this. One victim coming forward has indeed paved the way for others to follow. Of course people feel safer and more reassured in numbers. Obviously, if someone comes forward and makes an allegation that is false, this is a huge problem. It is potentially career and life-ruining. But what about the allegations that are actually true? What about those victims who were genuinely harassed or assaulted? It’s going to prove difficult for them to prove their allegations. In the case of some celebrities, like Weinstein and Spacey, there has been no denial. They have admitted to their misconduct (although I feel that term somewhat undermines their abhorrent actions). But what about the allegations that have been made against celebrities like Ed Westwick? The ones that have been categorically denied but have come from multiple people? I guess we might never really know the truth. All I can say is that these things are often very difficult to prove. Maybe Ed Westwick is completely innocent; maybe he is a rapist. But don’t allow the amount of allegations that have been made undermine the ones that are true. The victims deserve to be heard; no matter how many of them there are. We must listen. This should not be a fad or a trend. These are lives. Lives that could have been destroyed by arrogant, powerful people.

This is a topic that it close to my heart because I have my own experience. I am not yet ready to talk about it. I am afraid, I admit it. I feel fear because I think I will be judged, condemned and maybe even blamed. I never really opened up to anyone about it, and the select few I did open up to reacted in the way I had feared they would. I put myself in a dangerous situation, I admit that, but I certainly didn’t consent to what happened after. It was by far the most frightening and humiliating experience of my life and I was frozen by fear and disgust. I didn’t react because I was terrified, ashamed and sickened. I am only ready to even admit this happened seven years later. I can’t bring myself to fully talk about it because it makes me feel disgusting and ashamed even though I know I did nothing wrong. But I do know that my story would be difficult to prove now. I have accepted that and I have to make my peace with it.

I understand these men and women. I understand why they only feel ready to come forward now and why they feel safe to do so when others are doing the same. I understand the anger, the pain, the doubt, the fear. All of it. I admire them because they are stronger people than I am.

Sexual assault and sexual harassment is not just a fad. It’s not just confined to Hollywood hotel rooms. It’s not something that can be simplified by sound bites and tweets. It happens to many people every day. No matter where or when, it is never, EVER, the victims’ fault.

I hope you guys don’t perceive me as weak because I’ve only barely touched on my own experience here. I know that if I opened up, it might help others to come forward. I know that I shouldn’t be afraid, that I shouldn’t feel ashamed. But I do. And it’s not something I can wash off in the shower. It’s with me all the time; clawing away under my skin.

So please appreciate the courage of those that have come forward. I know I do.

My Fab Four 

Well hello there friends! I am just back from a fabulous break with my best friend and I feel equal parts exhausted and exhilarated. We ate, we laughed and of course, we drank. A little. Ahem. 

My eyes say ‘hello there sailor’ but my lips say ‘I was a little drunk when I did my makeup’

Anyway, as I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been practicing acknowledging all the things I’m grateful for each evening and it really helps to remind me that I am lucky for a number of reasons. Today, I’m going to acknowledge four people who I feel very lucky to know. These gals bring me happiness and I am so grateful to have them in my life. So without further ado, here are four of my most lovely friends:

*I’m going to refer to them by their initials 

FB 

I have known F since we were both little girls knocking the shite out of each other. I don’t even know to put into words how much this girl means to me. We are both unashamedly weird, hyper and Simpsons-obsessed. We can make each other laugh by just looking at each other. She didn’t have the easiest of childhoods but she has never let this define her or obstruct her in any way. She approaches everything with positivity and enthusiasm. Her company makes me a better person and my life is made easier by having her along this journey with me. 

ROS 

I’ve also known R since I was a little girl. I have always looked at her like another sister. When I was a timid, shy child, she brought out the best in me. She was always there, championing me to be a stronger, confident person. She is wonderfully mischievous and even to this day, she brings out my inner messer. We have always been so bold in each other’s company. We couldn’t sit next to each other in primary school because we were just too naughty and we probably only graduated secondary school because we went to different ones. R is one of the best friends a girl could have in her life. She is always there for me. She doesn’t know how much her dedication to our friendship means to me. She helps me and guides me in so many ways. She is inspiring and wonderful and I adore her more than I can ever express. 

CQC 

C is a friend of F’s (try and keep up haha) that I met about eight (?) years ago. We are similar in many ways and I bonded with her instantly. She is intelligent, funny and kind. I really enjoy her company and we have the most interesting and random chats. She is the kind of person everyone needs in their life! I feel really lucky to have met her and I always look forward to seeing her. She is currently expecting a child and I couldn’t be more excited for her. She’s going to be an amazing mother. I haven’t seen her in a while and really miss her. Note to self: Next time you see her, smell her hair. 

KL 

I met K in primary school. Since then, we have been a big part of each other’s lives. She is such a strong, wonderful person and I admire so many things about her. Whenever we meet up, we’re like two kids again,  giggling and gossiping. She is just the best company. I love going out on night’s with her; she is the best fun. 

She became a mother this year and I swear her son is the most adorable baby everrrr. I am in awe of her strength and her resilience through difficult situations. I feel so lucky to know her and still be her friends after all these years and I know we have many wonderful years of friendship ahead of us. 

So there you have it, four women who inspire me and bless me with their friendship. Who do you feel grateful to know? 

So what’s new with you? 

Happy Hallowe’en my dears 🎃👻 I am finding it insanely difficult to type because of these… 

so if I make some typos you guys will know why…. worth it though.

I’m officially on midterm break, woo! I have Gatsby lying next to me..


and I have the worst head cold ever. Typical, isn’t it? I get a few days off work and I’m sick. Ugh. 

But it’s fine. I mean it could be worse… probably. I’ll be heading to a super fancy hotel at the weekend and drinking my weight in prosecco so keep an eye on my twitter and instagram if cyber-stalking me feels like a thing you’d like to do. I mean, I do it to you. 

Okay guys, it’s legitimately taken 45 minutes for me to write this much so I’m going to stop now and cry for a while. Tell me about your life, your day, your lunch, whatevs. 

Advice on a Sunday Night 

Why, hello there. Fancy meeting you here. 

Here in Ireland, it’s Sunday night which means that the majority of us are doing two things: 

  • Sobbing over a takeaway while watching trash TV 
  • Freaking out over the coming week 

For a long time, that was exactly what I would have been doing (give or take a bottle of wine and a unicorn onesie). I absolutely dreaded Mondays. I would go so far as to say that Sunday nights were filled with intense anxiety and utter fear. 

To deal with this, I really worked on identifying why I was so anxious. I also worked on identifying things in my life that I am lucky for and that I have regardless of what day of the week it is. 

If you dread Mondays and the week ahead to an extent that you feel fearful or panicked, you must ask yourself whether you are in the right job or career for you. Many of us find ourselves in jobs that we really grow to dislike. There really is nothing worse. I was in a job for over two years that I absolutely loathed. I felt I couldn’t leave it because I had moved far away to take it, it paid well and it was in my chosen career. But it made me miserable. I cried constantly, I had perpetual knots in my stomach and I was depressed beyond belief. It was a difficult decision to leave, but I did. I ended up finding a job that I adore and I feel so lucky to be able to get up every Monday morning. There was a time when I wasn’t able to, so I appreciate it more than I can express.

Some people live for the weekend (I do love my weekends!). The problem is that we often put too much stock in our weekends, to the point that we often wish away the days of the week; days where we often accomplish amazing things (in my case, beating my high score in Candy Crush. WIN-NING). I often think, when we are on our death beds or maybe someday ruefully looking back on the days we wasted, we would take any idle Thursday or Monday and live it again. All the days of our lives are a wonderful gift that we shouldn’t wish away. We will only live tomorrow’s Monday once. If you are getting up to go to work, or indeed getting up at all, you are lucky. I know, I know, try telling me that at 6 am in the freezing cold, right? But trust me, you will look back on the days that now appear mundane and pointless and you will appreciate their value. And anyway, those weekends when you relax and unwind feel so much better when you feel that you’ve truly earned them. 

So go out and kick Monday’s ass! 

Judge Not lest ye be Judged

I have often wondered about the root causes of my anxiety. It is, of course, a very personal thing; it is difficult to explain to anyone why you feel worried or agitated. Sometimes I don’t even know the answer myself. For the past few weeks, I have been trying to reflect on my anxious moments to the best of my ability. I ask myself what I feel anxious about and also why. I am starting to identify a common denominator:   

I am afraid of being judged in a negative manner. 

I can’t really blame other people for my own issues. If I am hyper-sensitive or anxious, it’s not up to every person I meet to treat me with kid-gloves. I can’t exactly wear a sandwich-board declaring my problems with anxiety. It would be wonderful though if we could all reflect on the power of our words and actions and their capacity to cause harm, as well as good. It’s something I’m trying to work on myself because I would hate to think my actions would cause anyone undue stress. 

I think it’s fair to say that much of th lie problem lies with our predisposition as a society to be incredibly judgemental. This  absolutely doesn’t help anyone who is very sensitive to criticism or who is more prone to anxiety. 

Being judgemental is natural human behaviour. It’s second nature to us. Just because we might have an opinion about something or someone, however, doesn’t mean we have to express it. Say you don’t like a co-worker’s blouse. Is there really a need to verbalise your disdain for it to your friends over lunch? It seems utterly pointless, doesn’t it? Perhaps the only purpose this kind of idle gossip serves is to bond you and your friends closer to one another. And that’s the thing; a lot of friendships are formed that way. Hey, I’m not saying I’m innocent here either! Who doesn’t like a good bitching session every now and then? But I realise the potential harm these things can do. After all, if I were to find out that I was the butt of the joke or the topic of office gossip, I would be very upset. 

And that’s the thing; I am only too aware of how judgemental people can be because it’s a trait in myself that I need to work on. I also need to work on overcoming my fear of negative judgement. I know one can’t live life planning everything they do based on the opinions of others. That would be insane. Yet I often find those doubtful thoughts creeping in throughout the day: 

That’s too much makeup; they’ll think you love yourself. 

You can’t wear that; they’ll think you’re unprofessional. 

You can’t say that; they’ll think you’re weird! 

You should go to that event or they’ll think you’re being antisocial. 

For someone with anxiety, the fear that this way of thinking causes is seemingly insurmountable.

 I’m trying my best to overcome this fear. I tell myself that people will always be judgemental. It is as natural to us as breathing. And if someone does express something negative about me, I can’t control that. I cannot control the thoughts or opinions of others to that extent. I don’t want to. I have to be the best me and if someone doesn’t like it, that doesn’t mean I’ve done anything wrong. I’m learning that criticism is okay. My co-workers or friends might not like my hair, my clothes, my voice…whatever. It’s normal to harbour at least some negative opinions about those around us. I’m just trying to not be so afraid of these. 

I’m trying to teach my students to express negative judgement less often. Why do we seem to express negative judgement more than positive judgement? Is it so entertaining to us? And if so, what does that say about us? Why do we bitch and gossip and what’s worse, take pleasure in it? I guess I’ll never really be able to fully understand it myself. All I can do is be a better person by trying my best not to verbalise unnecessary negative opinions about others and to also refrain from letting these same opinions from others cause me stress. 

Piece of cake, right? 🙂

Well Colour Me Surprised 

Hello my dears! 

Today, I received the news that my humble little blog was a silver medal winner in the lifestyle category at the Irish Blog Awards (there’s an actual ceremony with booze and dress up and food so it’s basically the Oscars). I am totally blown away. I really wasn’t expecting this at all! 

I just wanted to say thank you to all the wonderful, talented people who read my blog and connect with me often. I wouldn’t be anything without you all. 

So thank you, lovely, magical, attractive readers 🤗🤗

Let’s raise a glass to all us bloggers who work hard and love what we do 💪🏻🥂

I am thankful for…

Hi guyssss! 

I’ve been back at work for the last three weeks and absolutely LOVING IT! Yes, I’ve had espresso. All the espresso. But I’m also happy. I love teaching and I love having a routine established in my life once more (and yes, there’s still time for cat Zumba). I had been struggling with anxiety and depression for some time and I didn’t really ever see myself being so well again. I learned during these difficult times that it’s really important to take stock of all the good things in your life. I have so much to be grateful for and realising this really helps to ground me in times of doubt. 

At the end of most days, I like to take a few moments to reflect on the things I am most grateful for or happy about. These can be simple things, like finding a scone in the supermarket that doesn’t contain raisins (hisssss) or my cat allowing me to cuddle her without the risk of me losing an eye. I’m actually going to start writing these down in a pretty journal so that whenever I feel a little low, I can look back over all the lovely things or events that have brought me happiness. Happiness can come from the smallest, simplest things…like this gif of corgis on a treadmill: 


Today, I am going to share with you all three things that I am thankful for. 

I would love if you guys could share three (or any) things you are thankful for in the comments to spread the positivity! 

1. I am thankful to be busy on a Saturday 

I did lots of preparation for my classes today. Although it means I had to work for most of my Saturday, I felt really lucky to be able to do so. A few months ago, gettting out of bed would have been a struggle. Being well, mentally and physically, is something that many of us (including me) can take for granted. I am lucky and grateful to be able to work. 

2. I am thankful to my boyfriend for being a really considerate person 

I have been a little under the weather for the past few days and my lovely boyfriend has been cooking, cleaning and driving me about the place. Sure, sometimes we argue (don’t even get my started on him NOTPICKINGUPHISBLOODYCLOTHESOFFTHEFLOOR) but we are always there for the other. I have even avoided sneezing in his general direction because I’m nothing if not super-thoughtful. 

3. I am SO thankful to have been selected as a finalist in the V by Very Blog Awards Ireland 2017 in the Lifestyle Category. 


I feel so so honoured to have been selected as a finalist in the 2017 Blog Awards which take place in Dublin in October. When I began blogging, I was so self-conscious about putting myself out there (given that I’m a little…eccentric). I didn’t think anyone would actually read my posts, and if they did, they would consider me silly and immature (which is soooo not the case, silly poo face). To be nominated with such talented and wonderful bloggers feels really amazing and I can’t believe my little old blog has made it this far. It sounds contrived and a little corny, but this news has brought me such a sense of self-worth. 

So, lovely readers, those are three things that I am grateful for this week. Want to share what you are grateful for? And then we can all hug and eat scones with no raisins. 


How I’m Learning to Say No 

Hello there! I’ve been a little busy as I just went back to work teaching and I have more subjects than ever this year. It’s great and all but I only have two hands…for now, at least. I wanted to share something with you all, however, because it’s something that has really changed my life in the last few months. 

I have finally learned to say no. 

I mean, I always knew the word existed and I had used it in certain situations, such as: 

“Would you like some raisin bread?”

“No, thank you.” 

That’s mostly because raisins are the devil’s food and I won’t hear any arguments from anyone that says otherwise. *shudders*


Raisins aside, saying no has always been an issue for me. It’s probably because I’m a people-pleaser and I loathe any form of confrontation (unless you’re trying to get me to eat raisins…I really hate raisins). I have often found myself in uncomfortable situations simply because I wasn’t confident enough to be completely honest. I have always wanted people to like me and to see me as amiable and cooperative. 

The problem is, people will also view you as somewhat weak and this can put you in situations where you can be taken advantage of. Of course, you don’t want to find yourself going to the other extreme and becoming belligerent and unhelpful. You just have to find that balance that ensures your happiness and that you can maintain functioning personal and professional relationships. 

It isn’t easy. It has taken me many years to work on gaining the confidence to become more assertive. I have learned that I can’t keep everyone happy all the time. People will be annoyed with me. People probably won’t like me very much from time to time. All of this is normal. All of this is okay. Now, when someone asks me to do something, I consider my response carefully. Sometimes it might just be something that might cause me mild inconvenience but will benefit that person quite a lot, so I will say yes just to be kind. There is, of course, nothing wrong with doing this. If I feel that something will make me unhappy or uncomfortable, however, I will most likely say no. I do this for my own sake. 

I owe myself as much happiness as I owe other people. 

That has really become a kind of mantra for me. I do my best to be kind and thoughtful but I also do my best to look after myself. If you find yourself having trouble saying ‘no’, start off simply. I find it is often easier to say it by email or text rather than face to face. Of course, you can also be diplomatic in your refusals. As time goes by, you will become better at doing it face to face. You may not use the actual word no, but a more polite derivative of it. No matter what, be kind, be considerate but think of your own happiness. 

So, all together now:

Nooooooo! 

Have you any tips to share? Please comment below! 

Insomnia List 

Anyone who’s ever suffered from insomnia will agree with me when I say that it is just… Girngunrrfndfjjenfj (that incoherent word is me internally screaming). There is nothing more frustrating than lying awake for hours on end, willing your mind to relent and just…rest. As bad as it can get, I do find myself thinking about some pretty random yet admittedly funny things. So I thought, hey, why not share my misery with my blogging friends so that at least someone might benefit from all of this?! Or, you know, I’ll cause dozens of existential crises. Whatever. 


When Wordsworth was in a vacant or pensive mood, he thought about daffodils. Not me. Oh no.


So without further ado, here is a list of my most bizarre insomnia-induced thoughts: 

  1. Rhinos are basically obese unicorns.
  2. If cats had opposable thumbs and better attention spans, we would be so screwed. 
  3. I am ridiculously addicted to coffee but don’t see it as a problem. 
  4. We are truer to ourselves drunk than sober.
  5. Friendship is basically spending time with another person and not hating it.
  6. It is sad that more people are interested in astrology than astronomy. 
  7. A boxing ring is not a ring. Also, boxing is pretty barbaric. 
  8. Katy Perry looks really like Zooey Deschanel.
  9. Holden Caulfield just really wanted a damn conversation. 
  10. Garfield looks nothing like an actual cat but dammit he’s adorable. 
  11. Cauliflower is the best damn vegetable. 
  12. A priest hearing confession gets the best gossip. 
  13. The universe, is like, really big.  
  14. I have taught well over 1,000 students. Jesus tap-dancing Christ.
  15. Was Jesus a good dancer? 
  16. Why aren’t people kinder to one another? 
  17. Diplomatic crises should be solved by making world leaders watch clips of sea otters holding hands.
  18. The one thing North Koreans have going for them is that they probably don’t know who the Kardashians are.
  19. Gossip Girl was actually a pretty rubbish show, but a pretty entertaining one too. 
  20. If you could make shoes for spiders, they would be 75% less terrifying. 

So, erm, there you have it. These are the thoughts that race through my coffee-addled brain at stupid o’ clock at night. 

What do you think about  when you’re in bed? Normal things? Or collies that look like Richard Gere? Share below! 

Why I don’t want to be a ‘Girl Boss’ 

Chances are, if you’ve given your social media newsfeeds even a cursory glance over the last year, you’ll have noticed terms like ‘girl boss’, ‘boss babe’ and ‘boss bitch’ pop up from time to time. On the surface these expressions seem to describe a woman who is confident, successful and empowered by her feminity. One could intimate from these neologisms that they are clearly meant to be a positive expression; celebrating women and inspiring them to achieve their full potential. I don’t agree. I think these terms are problematic and quite honestly, a little silly. Let me explain why. 

When I was a child in the late ’80s/early ’90s in Ireland my general practioner was male. That, of course, is not unusual and his gender was never something I even thought about. After all, my mother was a nurse and going to the doctor was such a rarity, I barely knew his name. On one occasion however, I have a distinct memory of being brought to a different doctor. My parents seemed to be making quite a big deal of the fact that this was a different doctor (I assume my usual GP was on holidays) and chatted about it to me for the entire journey. 

So what was so special about this doctor? Well, she was a Lady Doctor. Yes, that’s what my parents actually called her. Not to make her seem more appealing to me, not to make her sound as if she was some kind of aristocratic and elegant doctor, but to distinguish her from the actual doctors (you know, the ones with penises). They made such a big deal of this that I was actually expecting her to have fairy wings and a wand. She did not. She was just like my other doctor, a scary person in a white coat poking me with needles and talking over my head to my mother. My parents seemed amazed by the fact that she seemed just as competent as her male counterpart. They couldn’t have been overly-impressed, however, as I was back with my male GP for my next visit, lamenting the fact that he didn’t have a cool prefix before his title. 

You must understand that my parents were born into and grew up in a society where it was highly unusual for women to have such high-status jobs. Doctors, barristers, judges, politicians, guards and principals were men. Women were cashiers, nurses, clerks and even teachers but they rarely held positions of authority. Until recently, the Irish language had a word to distinguish female police officers from their male counterparts (they were called a ‘Bean-Garda’* meaning ‘woman guard’). Many people still use this term, and not to cause offence, I might add. 

But times have changed. In most western societies, you will find female lawyers, doctors, judges, detectives, principals, politicians, CEOs and entrepreneurs. Of course, there is still progress to be made, but we have come a long way. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone who walked into an office and saw a female employer did not make assumptions or prejudge her abilities because of her gender? We shouldn’t have to differentiate ability based on someone’s gender. Whether you’re male or female, the only thing that should matter is whether you have the ability to do your job competently. 

Judge ability not gender. 

This is why terms like ‘girl boss’ are problematic. We should be aiming to normalise the idea of women in positions of authority instead of distinguishing them as an anomaly by using these terms. In an impressionable young girl’s mind, there should be no difference between a male or female boss. Both should be equally unremarkable. The word ‘boss’ should have no gender-specific connotations. A young child should see any kind of authoritative position as achieveable no matter what their gender. 

We must also consider the somewhat unflattering stereotype that these terms represent. Let’s face it, ‘boss bitch’ sounds at least vaguely aggressive. Why are females in positions of power often perceived or depicted as shrill, truculent, combative and quarrelsome? When a man is competitive in business, he is audacious and determined. When this applies to a woman, she is selfish and cold. I personally dislike the term ‘boss bitch’ because to me, it sounds arrogant and puerile. You wouldn’t use the term ‘boss-prick’ or some variant to describe a man in position of power (unless, you know, you really didn’t like your boss). It would be seen as a pejorative term. It would also be deemed superfluous, as there has never really been a trend of distinguishing male employers. 

I know it’s important to celebrate female empowerment. It’s important that we are aware of our progress as women. But expressions like ‘boss babe’ don’t propel us forward. They trivialise and devalue female empowerment. These are terms you would print on a slogan t-shirt or a wine glass. Let’s face it, a CEO of a company is unlikely to have ‘Boss Bitch’ written on the door to her office. These expressions seem to serve a decorative function; something you can post in a glitter font on Instagram to show how confident you are. But they don’t serve a real-world function. Let your ability do the talking, not some expression that only serves to depreciate your worth. 

*Pronounced ‘ban’